Hundreds of Gloucestershire County Council staff report bullying and harassment | Bolt Burdon Kemp Hundreds of Gloucestershire County Council staff report bullying and harassment | Bolt Burdon Kemp

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Hundreds of Gloucestershire County Council staff report bullying and harassment

According to a recent staff survey conducted by Gloucestershire County Council, hundreds of employees have personally encountered workplace incivility, including concerning issues such as bullying, harassment, discrimination and malpractice. Nearly 270 staff members highlighted these concerns out of just over 2,680 employees surveyed, indicating that around 10% of employees are affected by these wrongdoings.

In terms of reporting incidents of incivility, the Council’s survey revealed that between 79-89% of the employees felt confident in their ability to address personal concerns of bullying and harassment with their manager. However, only 53-60% of these employees felt confident that any issues raised would be adequately addressed and dealt with. These figures suggest that there may be an issue in the handling of such matters and potentially a further issue of underreporting. The survey results raise concerns about the effectiveness of the County Council’s complaints and investigation procedures. It is important that this is adequately addressed by the Council to avoid further incidents of incivility going unreported.

Another area of concern for employees was senior management. The survey findings highlighted issues with the accessibility and visibility of the senior leadership teams, with only 39% of respondents agreeing that the Council’s corporate leadership teams are sufficiently ‘visible and accessible’. Additionally, it was reported that only 50-65% of respondents would agree that they have ‘confidence in senior management’.

The results of the survey were debated by the Council’s Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee in late April 2024. The Council stated that whilst the majority of employees “had not witnessed bullying or harassment, there remains work to be done to ensure people feel able to speak up where they do think it is occurring”.

Whilst it is encouraging that there is an acknowledgement of the need for further efforts to ensure individuals feel empowered to speak up when faced with incidents of uncivil behaviour, the survey results do raise concerns about Gloucestershire County Council’s current complaints policies and investigative procedures. It is imperative that the Council now focus their efforts towards ensuring the effectiveness of these processes to address the concerning discrepancy in the handling of such matters. If employees do not feel confident that their concerns will be adequately resolved, these matters will continue to go unreported.

Bullying and harassment in the workplace should not be tolerated. If you have been the victim of such behaviour at work, we encourage you to reach out to Bolt Burdon Kemp for a free and confidential conversation with one of our experts.

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